Jibrizy, the millennial magician and hip-hop illusionist

Jibrizy Taylor is a hip-hop illusionist and magician. The Chicago native discovered magic by watching David Blaine when he was 8 years old, and that was a life-changing moment for the magician-to-be.

He began to fuel his dream by learning tricks, watching the greats. He then started posting videos to Youtube showing off his skills, and that’s when things started to take off. He became the youngest winner of the CW Television Network’s show “Penn & Teller Fool Us.”

Today, Jibrizy has amassed 182,000 followers on Instagram.  He dropped by rolling out studios to talk about his craft and how he has become a social media sensation.

What drew you to magic as a career?

I don’t really feel like I chose it, I feel like it chose me. I would die if I couldn’t do magic. … I love it that much. You cannot pull me out of the realm of what I like to do. I’m that dedicated. Read more

Trigg Watson is the Millennial’s Magician

It was a misty October day in the Cedars when I pulled up to Checkered Past Winery. I found a lone spot on the crowded street and parallel parked in one try, but that was just the beginning of the magic I was destined to experience that Friday afternoon.

I came to meet Trigg Watson, magician extraordinaire, whose monthly series Wine & Magic has become a low-key hit at the wine bar and eatery.

The reason for the show’s success is pretty clear: Watson is not your average birthday party trickster. The man’s been doing magic since he was four years old, and he’s been performing professionally since about age 11.

“I had these little business cards, I was available to perform at summer camps and libraries,” he says.

The young entrepreneur grew up and got a job in the corporate world, but he continued performing in his time off. Eventually, he gave in to his unusual vocation. Read more

Magician from Broadway’s ‘The Illusionists’ to appear at Genesee

He’s known for putting cell phones into blenders while their owners have heart palpitations nearby.

Adam Trent — who did the iPhone-in-the-blender trick on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” show in 2016 — comes to the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan for a 7:30 p.m. show Oct. 25.

He’s a rising star in the magic world and is fresh from Broadway, where he appeared in the show “The Illusionists.” His stage show — of which he does about 100 a year — is parts magic, stand-up comedy and technical-spectacle.

Trent got his start with a magic book he got when he was 8 years old. Before long, he was performing at kids’ birthday parties.

“The birthday party gigs became bigger, one thing led to the next and here I am 25 years later still doing it,” he said.

He makes it sound so easy, right?

“It certainly was not easy,” he said. “Most careers, when you want to get to the top, you can at least see the path you want to go. If you want to be a lawyer, you go to a great law school, work for a great law firm and put in your time. Whereas entertainment, and magic specifically, is quite different.

“There are a thousand ways you can go and maybe all those paths lead nowhere. Thankfully, it’s something I love so I kept doing it. Eventually things worked out after putting in the time.”

He’s appeared on shows like “America’s Got Talent,” “The Today Show” and “Rachael Ray.”

“I do a mix of everything. It’s a family-friendly show that has a mix of music, comedy and magic,” he said. “The good news is, if you like magic, obviously it’s a show for you. If you don’t like magic, it’s still a show for you because there are so many different elements to it. There’s lots of audience participation, people are coming on stage constantly. I take someone’s phone and put it in a blender. There’s all kinds of interesting little social things happening as well.”

He spent three years on Broadway with “The Illusionists,” so his show is grand in style and scope, he said.

“I do things with technology. I have these giant screens and I clone myself and teleport myself across the stage,” he said. “It’s a futuristic style of magic.”

Putting together something so grand was no easy feat. There are parts of the show he’s been working on for 15 years, he said.

“It’s always trial and error with these things,” he said.

He adds about 20-30 minutes of new material a year, so every few years he has a new show. And if you’ve seen him before, it’s almost a new show every time because the audience participation is always different, he said.

“Each show kind of takes on its own form,” he said. “It’s probably the most interactive magic show touring at the moment. There are parts where every single person in the audience — the magic happens in their hands.”

The best comment he likes to get is when people tell him they don’t like magic shows but they love his act, he said.

“That’s my favorite thing, when I can turn a non-magic fan into a magic fan,” he said. “I always say this is a show for people who did not know they were fans of magic.

“Part of the reason I started magic was I saw a magician perform,” he said. “I think it’s amazing to bring Broadway-caliber magic — I’m doing magic directly from the Broadway show ‘The Illusionists’ — to (places) like Waukegan.”

He also has a 10-episode series on Netflix called “The Road Trick,” where he travels around the world using magic as an icebreaker to meet locals, he said.

“I got to experience all of these crazy cultural things,” he said. “Magic was the vehicle to make that happen.”

Waukegan audiences can expect to see his Broadway-sized magic, he said.

“Whether this is your first magic show or your hundredth magic show, you’re going to see the most spectacular technological magic that’s currently out there,” he said. “I’m known for my blend of technology with magic. I’d say bring the whole family … and give it a chance.”

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Robot learns magic tricks for Netflix show, but won’t endanger human jobs

MAGI grasped a silver cup between its two metal claws in one hand. With the other hand, the robot dropped a red, bubble gum-sized ball into the cup.

A graduate student sat in the background, his hand hovering over an emergency stop button.

After a couple of rigid waves over the cup for dramatic effect, MAGI turned the cup upside down to reveal red confetti, the ball nowhere in sight.

MAGI used to be the top half of an emergency responder robot that could open doors and turn levers in hazardous situations. Now, it sits in the corner of UCLA’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory, wearing a red bow tie and performing beginner-level magic tricks.

MAGI, which stands for Magic, Arts and Gaming Initiative, is one of many robots, including the marimba-playing robot and dancing robot, attempting to enter the entertainment industry.

“There are jobs we generally thought were safe for humans, like creative jobs,” said Dennis Hong, the principle investigator of RoMeLa and an amateur magician. “Because of advancements in artificial intelligence, robots are going to start to take over jobs in those fields.”

But this robot still needs to master the mechanics of basic tricks before it threatens any magician jobs, said Matthew Williams, a graduate student in the lab.

“Robots are dumb while human motion is smart and there are a lot of complications that go into trying to create a human motion,” Williams said.

Researchers in the lab built MAGI in one week to perform in one episode of a Netflix show called “Magic for Humans,” which funded the project. During that week, graduate students spent more than 40 hours practicing the tricks and fixing pieces when they broke.

Sometimes an elbow motor would fail carrying heavy props. Sometimes an arm would shoot out unprompted, nearly hitting the graduate students. Once, the robot exhausted its engine grasping at nothing.

“We’re dealing with a robot that wants to potentially break itself to get what we want it to do,” Williams said.

The robot executed its tricks well for the Netflix taping but lost an arm after only a few performances.

ustin Quan, another graduate student in the lab, said he thinks the robot could perform more complex tricks if researchers had more time and newer equipment. He said it might even be able to create its own tricks using artificial intelligence.

Steve Spill, a performer and founder of the magic theater Magicopolis in Santa Monica, said he does not feel like his career is threatened by robots like MAGI, even if they are able to create their own magic tricks.

“If you gave ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ to Bob Dylan or Taylor Swift, they would all sing the song and it would have a part of them in it. That’s what art is,” he said. “It has nothing to do with the trick, it has nothing to do with the song, it’s about the performer.”

Hong said he thinks robots could eventually exceed magicians’ abilities in technically challenging tricks by adding features such as extra fingers and hidden pockets.

However, he said part of the appeal of magic is understanding basic human limitations and then watching the magician violate them in a trick.

“You assume ‘that’s a robot, it could have built things into it’,” Hong said. “That’s no fun because you start with the assumption that (the robot) has abilities better than the audience.”

Spill agreed, comparing it to magic on television.

“You can’t help but think maybe there’s trick photography or something happening out of the frame of the screen,” he said. “The same could be said about robots.”

Hong also said successful magicians have many intangible qualities robots will never be able to recreate.

“This gets into the realm of what artificial intelligence can and cannot do,” Hong said. “We have the technology to build robots that look and feel like they have emotions, but I do not believe we’ll be able to build a robot with true emotion.”

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A grumpy magician who wears a dragon suit!

These days, John Van der Put is best-known as Piff the Magic Dragon. He’s a magician with an onstage persona that is somewhere between grumpy, irritating and disinterested. If you’ve seen him on TV, you’d remember him. He wears a satin dragon costume and is accompanied by a Chihuahua – Mr. Piffles, who has his own dragon suit – and a showgirl named Jade Simone.

Clearly, it’s an image that has been successful for him. He has a long-term contract with the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. And when he’s not there, he’s on the road. On Sept. 15, his wide-ranging travels bring him to the Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun, Indiana, for a single 8 p.m. performance.

It wasn’t always this way. Oh, the glum, moody attitude was always there. But his magic acts weren’t always such a big hit. For the better part of a decade, Van der Put performed at bar mitzvahs, corporate gatherings and weddings.

But there was a problem. People really didn’t like his act.

“Everyone hated it,” says Van der Put, speaking by phone from his home in London, “I would get fired all the time. It certainly wasn’t successful.”

When he started doing illusions, around the age of 14, he dreamed of a glorious career as a master magician.

“But it was just a hobby when I was younger,” he says. “It was something to fill the time. Then it became a job. Then it became something I could to do avoid having a job.”

The turning point – there has to be a turning point to his misery, right – came when he was invited to a holiday costume party. He didn’t have a clue about what to wear. But his sister happened to have a dragon suit in the closet. He was desperate, so he borrowed it and headed for the party.

When he arrived, he was the only one wearing a costume. He could have turned around and left. But hey, what’s a little more ridicule when you’re already feeling low?

“Since it was a Christmas party, I told everyone I was rein-dragon,” he recalls. So what did people think? “I don’t really want to know the answer.”

In an odd way, though, he found the experience liberating. He could be just as testy as he wanted and no one got angry with him. Indeed, everyone was amused. For a terminally disgruntled guy, this was a dream come true.

“When I found out I could re-invent what I was doing, I had a lot of fun,” says the 38-year-old Van der Put. “Basically, putting on a dragon outfit allowed me to say anything I want. Now I’m doing the show 400-500 times a year.”

When you do a show that often, though, there are bound to be audience members here and there who are frustrating. Or worse. But even that is OK.

“Now, I can say what I feel,” he says. “Instead of being fired for saying sarcastic things, I get to turn it into humor. It’s really quite amazing. When I had to do someone’s wedding, I couldn’t say these things. Now, people can’t wait for it.”

So, having unleashed this new vein of mocking wit, who is it who is attracted to his shows? And to his humor?

“Mostly, I aim for the people who don’t like magic,” he says. “You know – if you hate magic, come see Piff the Magic Dragon. I’ll turn you around.”

Source – cincinnati.com…